Open main menu

History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century/4/Emil McClain

Emil McClain - History of Iowa.jpg

EMIL McCLAIN is a native of the State of Ohio, having been born in Salem, November 25, 1851. His father removed with his family to Iowa in 1855, locating in Tipton where he had charge of the public schools. The son entered the State University at Iowa City in 1871, graduating in the Law Department in 1873. He studied law with Judge Wright of Des Moines, becoming his private secretary after he was chosen United States Senator and later was clerk of the Senate committee on claims. In 1877 he began to practice law in Des Moines and prepared “McClain's Annotated Statutes of Iowa” which was published in 1880 and became the standard code of the State. In 1881, Mr. McClain was appointed professor in the Law Department of the State University, removing to Iowa City where he was made Vice-Chancellor in 1887 and Chancellor in 1890. He has been long a law writer; his principal works are: “Outlines of Criminal Law,” 1884; “Synopsis of Elementary Law and Law of Personal Property,” 1884; “Digest of Iowa Reports,” 1887 and 1898; “Criminal Law,” two volumes, 1897; “Cases on Law of Carriers,” 1893 and 1896; “Cases on Constitutional Law,” in 1900. He has been a contributor to many law journals and an active member of the American Bar Association. In 1894 Chancellor McClain was appointed one of the Commissioners of Iowa to act with Commissioners from other States to recommend uniform laws on negotiable instruments and in conformity with their report acts have been passed by New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida and other States which will probably be the basis of future commercial law in the United States. In 1894 Chancellor McClain was selected by the Senate of Iowa as one of the Code Commissioners to formulate a revised code. Their work was the basis of the code adopted by the special session of the Twenty-sixth General Assembly. Chancellor McClain was selected to prepare the annotations of the new code which was published in 1897. At the Republican State Convention in 1900, he received the nomination for Judge of the Supreme Court, and was elected, assuming the duties in January, 1901.